Also commonly known as a UTI, a urinary tract infection can involve the urethra, bladder, ureters and even the kidneys. UTIs are mostly, but not always, caused by bacteria. Women are more prone to UTIs than men, probably because they have a shorter urethra.
Symptoms of a UTI are cloudy urine with a funny smell, blood stained urine (haematuria), dysuria (burning pain on urination), frequency, fever, incontinence and difficulty starting or stopping urinary flow. More than one symptom is strongly suggestive of a UTI and should be investigated.
A urine test should be done when a UTI is suspected. The presence of nitrites and leukocytes are strongly suggestive of a bacterial infection.
Treatment of a bacterial infection is with oral antibiotics.
Early treatment of a UTI is especially important in children to reduce the risk of ascending infection affecting the kidneys (pyelonephritis). Further investigations such as intravenous pyelograms, ultrasounds and nuclear scans of the kidney and bladder may be necessary if there are any complications or recurrences.